Table of Contents
ISRN Education
Volume 2014, Article ID 728153, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/728153
Research Article

Strategic Use of English to Study Science: A Perspective from Communities of Practice

RCSI Bahrain, P.O. Box 15503, 228 Adliya, Bahrain

Received 19 November 2013; Accepted 22 December 2013; Published 4 February 2014

Academic Editors: F. Jimenez and G. Olive

Copyright © 2014 Aneta Hayes and Nazia Al-Amri. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

This research is underpinned by the sociocultural perspective of communities of practice which situates learning and students’ use of strategic actions to achieve the desired goals in the practices of their communities. Strategic use of the English language is the focus of this study and the aim of this research was to establish whether differences in the strategic use of writing skills in English exist between students of various educational backgrounds. A self-reporting questionnaire on the writing strategy use was distributed among 94 students enrolled in the Foundation Year in one university. The questionnaire items were classified into subgroups, including cognitive, metacognitive, social, affective, compensation, memory, and negative strategies. The results showed that no differences exist among students in all groups in terms of the overall strategy use and in each questionnaire subgroup. Data was analysed using the Mann-Whitney U test and the Kruskal-Wallis one-way analysis of variance. All results were statistically insignificant. The findings from this study have implications for the theory of communities of practice, suggesting that sources of student choices regarding the use of English skills to study science might be related more to their individual agency rather than specific communities of practice.